Commentary on:
Constitution of 1822 (1822)

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This historical period is particularly riveting at various levels in both Portugal and Brazil.

From a cultural viewpoint, the transfer of the monarchy to Rio de Janeiro led to a transplant and flourishing of Portuguese cultural concepts on to the Brazilian colony, leading to a  cross pollination with fascinating repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic.

Politically, the presence of D. Pedro I of Brazil (Pedro IV of Portugal) in Brazil was a key element, if not the main thread, to the independence of Brazil.

In terms of copyright, the Liberal Constitution of 1822 expressly catered for freedom of expression, thus paving the way for artistic and literary creation to blossom in the absence of censorship or despotism.

Conversely, the only Brazilian Constitution emerging during the imperial period did protect authors’ freedom to create or their intellectual creations per se. It should be noted, though, that a concession was made to industrial property, as article 179, para. XXVI, awarded privileges to inventors for their discoveries or inventive productions.

Thus, the concept of creative freedom was first embraced, at a constitutional level, in Portugal but nor replicated in the imperial Brazil Constitution. Hence, one may argue that the constitutional architecture that preceded the creation of a copyright law per se was first addressed, in Portuguese-speaking countries, by the Portuguese Constitution of 1822.

Having said this, the Brazilian Law of 11th August 1827 awarded authors a privilege in the products of their mind for a period of 10 years, whereas in Portugal, the political turmoil of the time meant that a proper Copyright Law would not be approved until 1851.

Commentary by Victor Durmmond & Translation by Patricia Akester

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